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« Creative Thinking | Main | One Hundred Years Ago »

July 01, 2005


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I've been giving some thought to the change created by first-generation molecular manufacturing if this generation is carbon based manipulating carbon to either carbon nano tubes or a diamond structure. It has been argued on the other blots that this approach would perhaps be limited in its inability to produce any product. This is a coherent and reasonable argument given the current state of affairs. But it is perhaps not the most relevant question. Perhaps the most relevant question is can a carbon based molecular manufacturing device produce every product that we would “need”. The word need being relevant certainly a diamond based molecular manufacturing device will not be able to produce a wide range of products currently on the market and the used daily by individuals worldwide. However are these products going to be necessary for the day-to-day existence of individuals post molecular manufacturing. Is my opinion that this list of required products required to sustained life and happiness is a significantly smaller list then that currently used worldwide. And that a molecular manufacturing device diamond based will be able to produce products that will redefine the standard of living that those throughout the world and indeed creating a better longer and happier life for everyone.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Todd, "The word need being relevant certainly a diamond based molecular manufacturing device will not be able to produce a wide range of products currently on the market and the used daily by individuals worldwide."

Aside from food, I'm finding it hard to think of a manufactured product that couldn't be emulated by diamondoid manufacturing. Manufacturing today is just so clunky that it'll be possible to simulate any functionality you can't directly build.



I'm sure we both agree on the issue. What I'm saying is I don't think we have a part for part replacement if we switched to diamond today. For all useful products currently available worldwide. Some products i.e. the internal combustion engine would be problematic with a carbon block. Although diamond does conduct heat very well and perhaps the solution to the problem is simply to have three or 4000 cylinders each firing once a second and allowing heat to dissipate normally. As to the issue of food we would simply produce a automated large-scale greenhouse to produce quantities of food for everyone. These greenhouses would be a standard size perhaps 100 feet 300 feet 3000 feet and so on. One would simply defined the area of which was available for the greenhouse and download the appropriate file specifications for the greenhouse and build said greenhouse on location. It is my opinion that the greenhouse could be automated to the level of which simple seats could be deposited on one side of the greenhouse and produce i.e. food would be extracted from the opposite side with no further intervention other than sunlight and perhaps water.



I'm pretty sure MM will render the ICE obsolete. A solar-flywheel hybrid or hydrogen fuel cells (aided by MM feedstock manufacturing methods) should be sufficient for most tasks. I wouldn't want diamondoid toilet paper or chew toys for my dog, or air-freshener. But the amount of industry that will be displaced to the products MM can't make should drop the prices on these thing to nearly zero, just as the cost of MM products will be. Diamond being an insulator makes it a great conduction system component if lithosphere volume is plentiful.


Okay so let's go down the list of useful products.

The basics

single-family residence
apartment complex
40 bedroom mansion complete with hardwood forest
all weather clothing
firefighting clothing
bulletproof vests
cell phones
printers and ink
Artificial intelligence
General laborsaving devices
microwave oven

I've attempted to list items that at first glance would seem complex and difficult for a diamond based first-generation molecular manufacturing device to produce. Perhaps in some cases there are alternative ways of performing the same task using a diamond base product. Once again we are discussing first generation molecular manufacturing not a robust and well developed device but a device that is still in its infancy and changing but nonetheless functional and capable of self replication as well as millions of tons per day production of useful products. Given the existence of many such units. So the question becomes once again can a diamond base molecular manufacturing device produce all products necessary to sustain life in a manner consistent with the wealthiest of lifestyles of man today.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Todd, many of these products should be straightforward for any technology that can build a nanofactory. Computers, for example... why do you think computers would be hard? Even the UI is simple mechanics and optics.

Transportation has basically two functions: to convert energy into motion (no problem) and to provide a place for people and/or cargo to sit (also no problem). User interface (turn signal levers, etc) is again pure mechanics--maybe not even optics.

Food and medicine aren't on my list of early products. Ink... I admit ink could be a problem--there's a whole lot of R&D in making good ink. I remember being surprised when I realized a few months ago that a ball-point pen could be hard to build, because of the ink.



Can't eat diamondoids, but the machinery costs in transportation, farming, starge and processing, should come down considerably. Biotech might solve the food issue before MM.

Tom Craver

I'll bet even ink can be done, using cleverly designed nanoblocks that emulate the actions of ink. Mainly you need a way to sense that the nanoblock has been exposed to air, causing it to change permanently from a "fluid" state to a "solid" state.

But the better solution is to replace the functions of paper and ink - and extend them in the process. Why not have something that looks and acts like paper, that can display text - or full color motion video or graphic animation, allows a stylus to draw directly on it, records a library's worth of text and images, transfers data to other sheets, does character recognition to clean up my awful handwriting or speech or sign language or typing recognition so I don't have to write so much, perhaps even acts like a scanner and camera, etc? Sure, it'll take a while to get all those capabilities - but it's probably possible to emulate the simplest capabilities of paper very quickly.

We don't need to emulate EVERY old fashioned device, if we can find vastly improved ways of dealing with things. That may eventually even include food, btw.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Tom, the problem is backward compatibility. Look how long the 3.5" floppy drive lasted. Yes, we could make a new kind of paper and a new kind of stylus. But the paper had better be writeable with old-style ink, and the stylus had better be able to write on old-style paper. Then, years later, when people get frustrated with finding that the note they wrote on old-paper isn't searchable, they'll finally start to get rid of old-paper, and five years after that, the styluses will stop having ink.

More likely, paper won't be replaced until we have cameras and/or VR gloves capable of capturing hand motions, so that we can write on air and have it recognized--and displayed on simulated paper to our eyephones.

Now, in areas of the world where clean white paper is expensive, they may adopt new technology quite a bit faster. Like with cell phones in areas without land lines.



I think that nanotechnology is able to cause an impact on all sides of human life. It has a great potential.

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